2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    Mar 25, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Plant Science (Ph.D.)

Program Coordinator/Contact

David Wright, Department Head
Brent Turnipseed, Assistant Department Head
Senthil Subramanian, Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science
Raven Precision Agriculture Center 140

Program Information

The Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science Department is an integrated department that includes programs in crop production, entomology, horticulture, plant biotechnology, plant breeding, plant pathology, precision farming, soils, water management, and weed science. The primary goals of the department are to conduct research in these areas, to transmit the results to the public, and to help prepare students for an occupation in these disciplines and to become productive members of a community. Graduate training includes classroom instruction, teaching experience, seminars designed to refine oral and written skills, and meaningful experience in laboratory and field research techniques. Departmental diversity encourages collaborations among disciplines and research programs that support this graduate training.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and the ability to conduct scientific research.
  • Be knowledgeable of agricultural and/or biological systems at an appropriate level.
  • Demonstrated training in an area of focus or specialization, yet broad-based enough in knowledge to be marketable in other related disciplines.
  • Demonstrate a proficiency in technical methods necessary to conduct research in the Plant Sciences.
  • Demonstrated ability to think critically and solve problems.
  • Graduates will demonstrate effective intellectual and critical thinking traits..
  • Demonstrated professional development and competence to be able to succeed in industry or academia, and an understanding of the need to continue being a lifelong learner. 
  • Demonstrate effective written and oral skills.  Ability to relate at the professional and layman level.
  • Be able to relate with people of diverse backgrounds with integrity and professionalism
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics in research and conduct.
  • Be able to conduct and publish scholarly research.  

Course Delivery Format

The program coursework is available on campus, in classroom and laboratory settings, as well as field-based settings.

Facilities and Services

The department is housed in seven buildings across campus. These buildings provide research and teaching laboratories, greenhouses, seed house facilities and access to the functional genomics core facility. The on and off-campus facilities also include the SDSU Seed Testing Laboratory, SDSU Plant Diagnostics Clinic, Seed Certification, and Foundation Seed Stocks Division, which operates as services for the public. In addition, the department conducts research at five research farms near campus and five research stations across the state. The Field Specialists are housed in seven regional extension offices across the state.

Student Support and Engagement Opportunities

Students are encouraged to join and participate in the Plant Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA) which conducts professional and social events on a regular basis.  In addition, students are encouraged to participate and mentor undergraduate students in the Arboriculture Club, Agronomy and Conservation Club, or Horticulture and Urban Agriculture Club which offers opportunities for fellowship, leadership, and career planning for undergraduate students.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy 60 Credit Plan
  90 Credit Plan

Core Requirements

Ph.D. students required to have 3 credits of Graduate Seminar, at least one oral and one in poster format. All students are required to have at least one teaching experience during their Ph.D. program.

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Recommended, but not required
TOEFL: Minimum requirement of 560 paper-based, 83 Internet-based
IELTS: Minimum total score of 6.5
Duolingo: 110

Students must be accepted by an advisor before admission is granted.

General Requirements

Graduate students must consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements .